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Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?

folkyshaun 14 Mar 10 - 06:12 PM
Joe Offer 14 Mar 10 - 06:18 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM
Smokey. 14 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM
folkyshaun 14 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM
olddude 14 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM
Bernard 14 Mar 10 - 06:55 PM
olddude 14 Mar 10 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Alan 14 Mar 10 - 07:11 PM
matt milton 14 Mar 10 - 07:18 PM
Phil Cooper 14 Mar 10 - 08:21 PM
Darowyn 15 Mar 10 - 05:28 AM
Acorn4 15 Mar 10 - 06:04 AM
matt milton 15 Mar 10 - 08:24 AM
Jack Campin 15 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 15 Mar 10 - 03:44 PM
GUEST 20 Mar 10 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,erbert 31 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM
mattkeen 31 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM
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Subject: Tech: Recording
From: folkyshaun
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:12 PM

I know it is best to record guitar and vocals separately. However, i just don't get the timing right if i do them separately. Does it really make a difference? I've have recently been using two mics on guitar and one mic for vocals at the same time. I get a bit of bleed over on each one. Does anyone else use this technique?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Recording
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:18 PM

Hi, Shaun-
I don't know that it's a hard-and-fast rule that it is always better to record guitar and vocals separately, especially with folk music.
If you do record separately, do you listen to the guitar track in headphones while you're singing? It's a bit hard to get used to, but it works quite well once you get used to it. There are lots of software packages that will help you record that way.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM

better?maybe if you want better hi fi sound, but musically its better to record together.
on the contrary it is better to record them together then you are able to recapture exactly how you do it live,the accompaniment following the voice not the other way round


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together
From: Smokey.
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:27 PM

It's worth spending a bit of time to get just the right headphone mix when double-tracking, that's generally the key to getting it right. Also, and I'm sorry if I'm stating the obvious, you need to record the guitar first, then put the vocals to it.

However you record though, microphone positioning is everything. It can make more difference than the quality of the microphones.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: folkyshaun
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM

I listen to all of it as i record, guitar and vocals. I use one mic at the 12th fret and one poking up just under the body and one pointing at me mouth.(o:


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: olddude
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM

I wish i could do it separate, i can't, i do them both together like a performance


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: Bernard
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 06:55 PM

I would never record myself separately from the 'main' instrument - I always record a song the way I would do it live, then dub additional instruments afterwards.

Using the right microphones to get the separation you need for mixdown is important, but positioning them to get the right image is much more important, as you may not need to do that much mixing if you get it right to start with.

Recording the voice with only one microphone will always sound a little 'false' - far better to use a stereo pair. Two microphones on a guitar - experiment to find the positions you like best, but start with one near the fingerboard and the other near the bottom bout is a good starting point.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: olddude
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 07:00 PM

everytime i tried to do it separate it sounded false and contrived, the only way i can do it is together like a performance. i envy those who can do it separate


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: GUEST,Alan
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 07:11 PM

If the vocal mic is a cardioid, try and get the guitar off axis more by having the mic lower and pointing up. One mic for vocals. Also think about the room your in, if it sounds bad then throw a duvet over a horizontal boom mic and put it behind the singer


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: matt milton
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 07:18 PM

Yes, in terms of hi-fidelity recording, you are better off recording your main instrument separately, and then your vocal. But often you'll lose so much atmosphere and vitality in doing that.

Comes down to what you want to get out of your recordings, ultimately. If you want a recording to wow a record company with, then record separately, and mix and master till it sounds like something off a professional album.

But that almost certainly won't sound as exciting as your playing-everything-at-once live-take type performance.

Unfortunately, the times we live in, more people seem to prefer the former to the latter.


"Recording the voice with only one microphone will always sound a little 'false' - far better to use a stereo pair."

I don't think I've ever found that to be true. I frequently use two mics on other instruments - acoustic guitar, say - but can't remember the last time I used two mics on a voice. Maybe a really anaemic-sounding vocalist. (but even then, with digital recording it's so easy to duplicate a part and then EQ it differently...)

That said, I have some really good mics - Coles 4038s. Maybe if I had cheaper ones, I might have found things to be different.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 08:21 PM

I've done it both ways, but prefer doing both vocal and guitar together.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: Darowyn
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 05:28 AM

A very common approach is to record guitar and vocals together to create a 'Ghost Track'.
There are often small mistakes in the playing when you are doing both at the same time.
These are fine when you are playing live, gone and forgotten in a fraction of a second, but become a permanent irritation when recorded.
You then use that ghost track to overdub a perfect guitar track, which will be then clean and isolated on its own track.
Then you turn the ghost track off, and record your vocals over the perfect guitar track. Now the Vocals are clean and isolated on their own track.
Again, you can concentrate on performance and phrasing when you are not having to remember how the little guitar runs go.
Sometimes, if you are really lucky, the ghost track is good enough to fade up a fraction in the mix to reinforce the final version.
I don't see the point of using a stereo recording set up to record a vocal track. The purpose of recording with a stereo pair or a Mid/Side set up is to give the impression of width in the stereo image.
A piano is wide, a drum kit is wide, but even Pavarotti is not wide enough to produce sounds from sources several feet apart- unless he is running about the stage while singing!
The key factor to remember is that when you are recording a song, you are either making a record, for your own purposes, of the way you
performed that song, or you are making a RECORDING. It's the difference between a snapshot and a portrait photograph for public viewing.
The rules are different.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:04 AM

I've used a slightly different version of the ghost tracking. record voice and guitar together on separate tracks, then once the vocal take is OK, record a second guitar track if needed, without cock ups, over the first one - any guitar bleed through the vocal mike will be covered by the new guitar track.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together
From: matt milton
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:24 AM

equally, with digital recording, it's much easier to stitch together a perfect take. You don't have to use that "ghost track" method in order to get a technically perfect take. You could just record 5 different guitar-and-vocal takes and if you make a howler, chances are you won't have made that howler in every one of those 5 takes.

You can cut'n'paste in the passage without the mistake. Even if you're not playing to a click track, so long as your timing isn't totally erratic, it's relatively easy to make these grafts seamless.

That method is quite a good compromise: you get the spontaneity and energy of an all-at-once performance, with no bum notes.

However, you still don't get the flexibility to EQ and mix the way you would if you had a perfectly isolated recording of each individual instrument. That said, I don't think there are any mudcatters who are signed to multinational major labels who demand that all their multi-platinum selling albums are pristinely recorded, compressed into dynamic lifelessness and mastered to a +0 decibel peak. So that's alright then.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM

Record them separately.

Then throw the guitar track away.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 03:44 PM

No right or wrong way to go about things- it's not "better" to record guitar and vocals separately- it *may* be more appropriate in certain situations, depending on the recording setup, the singer, the song and what you plan to do afterwards.

If the end result is going to be a guitar/vocal performance, and that's how you always rehearsed and performed it, then your best bet is, as Matt says, to get enough takes that you can replace any mistakes, which means you perform it the way you're comfortable.

Soundwise you do limit your options for later on, but if you're planning a relatively straightforward, natural-sounding recording, there's little point in having options you're not going to use if it compromises the performance. In practice, as long as the guitar and vocal are both going to be present in the mix, you don't need total separation, just enough to be able to balance them.


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 10 - 06:32 PM

Well, after 15 years as a producer, arranger and engineer,and as an ex pro musician before that, I would simply say, that unless the recording is simply of the vocal and guitar ONLY, then generally, everything else is recorded "dry" (no effects but with them in the playback to the artist), and seperately. This then enables any post production, WITHOUT any problems from pickup from other instruments or vocals, and no difficulties trying to cut and paste sections with different background fall out.
If you can play the song live, then you should have no problems recording the seperate guitar, as YOU know your timings,swells etc, and should be able to just sing the words in your head, as you would live.
Don't see why you "lose the feeling" when recording, unless your trying to do it yourself, which is very, very difficult for a begginer.
As regards vocals, most decent studios, will use a valve or tube, mic, with valve compressors, limiters etc, AND use 2 inch tape !!!
Yep, you still can't beat it !!
Having said that, emulation via software plug-ins, is now very very good,and unless you know what your doing, would be very difficult to tell.
All in all, I find it FANTASTIC that people can now produce good quality recordings at home, compared to how I remember it in the 70's and 80's. God bless Fostex for the first cassette multi tracks, and Steinberg for Cubase. Trouble is, people now take it all for granted, and sometimes forget, that the medium may have changed, but the old rules and tricks still apply. The primary one is :-
Crap in, crap out !!!
Good luck to all

Spike


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM

check out current issue April 2010 UK "Sound On Sound" magazine feature tutorial

"Recording Acoustic Guitar

Recording a passable acoustic guitar sound is fairly easy, but how do you get a great sound? We tried and tested tips and techniques from the world's most celebrated producers and engineers to show you how."

here's an extract of the first page or so..


http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr10/articles/acguitar.htm


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Subject: RE: Recording-vocals & guitar separate or together?
From: mattkeen
Date: 31 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

QUOTE:
"From: matt milton - PM
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 08:24 AM

equally, with digital recording, it's much easier to stitch together a perfect take. You don't have to use that "ghost track" method in order to get a technically perfect take. You could just record 5 different guitar-and-vocal takes and if you make a howler, chances are you won't have made that howler in every one of those 5 takes.

You can cut'n'paste in the passage without the mistake. Even if you're not playing to a click track, so long as your timing isn't totally erratic, it's relatively easy to make these grafts seamless.

That method is quite a good compromise: you get the spontaneity and energy of an all-at-once performance, with no bum notes.

However, you still don't get the flexibility to EQ and mix the way you would if you had a perfectly isolated recording of each individual instrument. That said, I don't think there are any mudcatters who are signed to multinational major labels who demand that all their multi-platinum selling albums are pristinely recorded, compressed into dynamic lifelessness and mastered to a +0 decibel peak. So that's alright then. "


This is really good advice to get the best of both worlds
I personally find it difficult to always record both together as ONE take, as I just am a duffer at remembering lyrics in that situation so have resorted to recording seperately. But in folk/traditional music the performance is everything.

Mind you my performances whilst being sometimes good, are not worth getting that precious about!

Chris Wood I know always records guitar and voice together and it is challenging with more than one mic - due to phasey issues. I have tried to Figure 8 mics which inherently have clear nulls (areas where they hardly pick up any sound) and if you are careful about where you position them you can get quite a deal of seperation.

Contrary to previous posts I dont like using more than the minimum number of mics in any given situation, and I think there is a lot to be said for using one single mic. A good large diaphragm mic pointing near where the neck joins the body of the guitar but a bit further out than normal so it picks up the voice better. Depends on having a nice sounding room to record in mind - but so does most recording really


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